The Carrie Diaries (CW): What to Expect in 2013

The Carrie Diaries - CW

CW’s new series The Carries Diaries is about Carrie’s teenage years before she became the woman behind her own column called Sex and The City. The cast, including AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler, Ellen Wong, Katie Findlay, Stefania Owen, Brendan Dooling, Chloe Bridges, Freema Agyeman, and Matt Letscher, along with executive producers Amy B. Harris, Josh Schwartz, Len Goldstein, and author/executive producer Candace Bushnell were on hand at TCA 2013 to give fans an idea of what they can expect from the show in its first season.

Carrie will be hiding her age for a while. Young Carrie is living the life of a much older person on the show and when asked about how her story will play out, Harris said, “This is a coming of age story with the heightened experience of Manhattan, and she will be hiding her age for quite a bit of time with a lot of jokes about good dermatology and fresh faced Carrie Bradshaw. And, yeah, we’re definitely going to be playing with what age is appropriate to sort of be chasing down this new kind of life. So it’s going to add a lot of drama, hopefully, and fun to the show, especially when it explodes in her face.”

Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte will make appearances on the show….someday. Asked about the idea of meeting Carrie’s on the new series, Harris said, “My whole thing when we first started developing this series was ‘let’s get to know Carrie.’ It’s obviously a new actor playing a very iconic role that was so beautifully filled by Sarah Jessica, and I felt like let’s get to know Carrie, see her world really develop, this new world that we’re in. An then, yes, I’ve definitely thought about different ways that we will meet her three other friends, but I really felt like, at least initially, just let people enjoy this new universe.”

Carrie on the show is a combination of the books, the script and AnnaSophia Robb. When asked what it was like to fill Carrie Bradshaw’s high heels, Robb said “When I landed the role, I remember having a conversation with Amy, and she said, ‘We don’t want you to emulate Sarah Jessica’s performance.’ So really my character is a combination of the books, the script, what I’m bringing to the role, Amy’s vision for the character, and myself. And I realized, as we go on, I feel like I’m becoming more like Carrie or Carrie is becoming more like me.” Carrie’s backstory is different on the show than in the original series and the books. Fans will notice that there are certain things about Carrie’s past that have been changed in the new series. On that subject, Harris said, “Some of it – losing the sister and a couple of the friends – is just about kind of creating a really clean number of characters to kind of play with every week. And then, for me, I really saw this as an origin story. So if you look at Smallville, which I think is a very good example where you’re meeting Clark Kent before he realizes he has super powers. I wanted to meet [Carrie] before she had sex, before she fell in love, and before she met Manhattan. So, for me, the fun of it was like let’s get to those things. Like let’s set her on those paths, and Manhattan was such a huge part of it, I really wanted to explore that in the first season.”

Bushnell also added, “The reality is that books and TV series are like apples and oranges. You know, a book has a beginning, middle, and end, and a TV series, ideally we want it to go on and on and on. So there are just certain requirements to a series that I think shapes a lot of the decisions that one makes in taking something from a book to a series. I mean, the first thing I do, even with my own work, is basically just throw everything out and kind of start over again.”

Carrie’s damage comes from a new place in the new series. Another major change from the original series was Carrie’s the fact that her father left when she was young and Harris spoke about that as well. “We had an episode [in the original] where Carrie talks about the fact that her father left, and that is a lot of why she has issues with men. And we debated a lot in the room whether that was a good path to go down, and some of us weren’t so sure because, actually, almost everyone in the room had both parents, and we were all totally dysfunctional and screwed up about relationships. So we were debating even amongst ourselves. And then when I read Candace’s book when she sent me the galleys, I was blown away by the choice for her not to have a mother because that really, to me, perfectly explained why she’s so damaged.” 80’s style will be incorporated into the show, but not as a joke. Asked about the style of the series, Harris said, “Our whole idea for this when we started was I didn’t want it to feel like the joke version of the ’80s with people in those, sort of, thin glasses or parachute pants. So my whole idea was — Stephanie Savage beautifully coined it ‘aspirational authenticity.’ So we are really kind of mixing and matching. Luckily, there’s actually been a lot of clothes out there this year that have been sort of ’80s-inspired.”

It takes a lot of work to keep the show looking right. Asked about the challenges of filming a show set in the 80’s in modern Manhattan, Harris said, “We work really hard, especially when we are on the streets of Manhattan, which is a huge challenge to keep the period together. We travel with what we like to call our ’80s kit’: some graffiti, trash, gross garbage cans. The ’80s was very different in Manhattan. It was not, you know, pretty Time Square. It was scary Time Square, and that’s what I love about that Manhattan is it was very sexy, but it also had a lot of danger to it. Every single extra goes through hair, wardrobe, makeup, to make them look like they are ’80s. We have to green-screen out some stuff that suddenly shows up where we see in the background.”

Yes, Carrie will lose her virginity on the show, at some point. In the first episode, it is established that Carrie is the resident virgin among her friends. Asked how that delicate subject will be approached, Harris said, “We’ve definitely been talking about it a lot because that’s obviously a first that means a lot to everybody, whether it’s because you did it in the back of a car or you made it a romantic experience. It is — it shapes you. And we’ve been talking about it a lot, but we haven’t nailed it down yet. No pun intended.”

What do you think after hearing these tidbits about The Carrie Diaries? Are you excited to see what’s coming up in the first season? If you haven’t been watching already, are you planning to give the new series a shot? Sound off in the comments below, we love hearing from you guys!

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